The news cycles around Tar Heel football have been rather quiet, but as the page turns to March, that, as expected, has changed. While this may have a bit of a slow week, here are the storylines that you may have missed over the past week.
Early Enrollees Receive Their New Jersey Numbers
The January enrollees received their new jersey numbers last Tuesday morning and it included some interesting choices. Six of the twelve prospects will wear single digits, with Gavin Blackwell, J.J. Jones and Kobe Paysour taking over the numbers that were held by Dyami Brown, Dazz Newsome and Michael Carter, respectively, this past year. Neither of the Tar Heel legacies that early enrolled, Drake Maye or Caleb Hood, will wear the number that their fathers wore in their time at Carolina, as Maye will instead wear the No. 10, while Hood will don the No. 4. With Kobe Paysour taking his No. 8, Tennessee transfer Ty Chandler will now wear No. 19 in what will be his lone season with the Tar Heels in 2021. Both of the team’s early enrolling defensive linemen will wear single digit numbers, with Jahvaree Ritzie keeping his No. 5 from his high school days and Keeshawn Silver wearing the No. 6. Other players to receive their numbers are DeAndre Boykins (No. 24), RaRa Dillworth (No. 11), Power Echols (No. 23), Dontavius Nash (No. 21) and Diego Pounds (No. 61).
All Five Tar Heel Draft Prospects Receive Combine Invite
While the NFL Scouting Combine isn’t going to be the spectacle that it normally is with hundreds of the league best draft prospects flocking to Indianapolis, the virtual combine this year will still be a chance for those guys that would normally be heading there to show out for scouts. On Tuesday afternoon, the five Tar Heel prospects received their invitation to compete in this year’s version of the combine, giving them another shot to move up some draft boards. Michael Carter will be looking to continue his climb up draft boards and build on his tremendous showing at the Senior Bowl, while Chazz Surratt will be looking to prove to scouts that he is healthy and ready to go after missing the Senior Bowl final practice and game in Mobile. This opportunity might be biggest, though, for Dazz Newsome, who will get his first chance to show scouts where he stands amongst another loaded wide receiver draft class. Meanwhile, Javonte Williams will look to jump into the conversation to be one of the first running backs off the board and Dyami Brown will hope to lock himself into a Day 2 selection.
2022 4✮ In-State OLB Announces Commitment Date
One of the biggest in-state targets in the 2022 recruiting class set his commitment date on Monday. 2022 4✮ OLB Jalon Walker, who plays his high school football at Salisbury High School in Salisbury, NC, announced via social media Monday morning that he would be committing to a school later this month on March 28th. Walker’s decision will come down to the six schools that he named as his top schools back in early November and the feeling going in is that the Clemson Tigers still hold a significant advantage going in that they were able to establish in the early days of his recruitment. The Tar Heels have definitely kept themselves around, but Clemson might just be in too good a spot here.
Tar Heels Land in Top Eight For 2022 4✮ OT
The 2022 class is starting to move their recruitments along and some major Tar Heel targets narrowed down their decisions. It started on Sunday at midnight when 2022 4✮ OT Qae’Shon Sapp released his final eight schools, a list that the Tar Heels were amongst . Sapp, who jumped on to the scene after the conclusion of his junior season, has moved pretty quickly in his recruitment, announcing his decision to cut his list to eight from his original plan of twelve. One of the biggest positions of need for this Tar Heel team in this class is at that offensive tackle position and Sapp looks as if he is heading towards being that first offensive tackle target off the board.
Tar Heels One of the Final Fifteen for 2022 4✮ OT
Sapp wasn’t the only Tar Heel offensive line target to narrow down his list late on Sunday night. Shortly after Sapp’s release, fellow 2022 4✮ OT, Dayne Shor, released a list of his top fifteen schools via social media. Shor, who received an offer from Mack Brown and the Tar Heels back in November when he was still living and playing his high school football in Alpharetta, GA, included the Tar Heels as one of the final fifteen that remain in the running for him. Since the conclusion of his junior season, Shor has made the move to IMG Academy where he will play his final year of football this upcoming fall making it a bit more of a challenge for the Tar Heels. With the way the staff has been recruiting, though, these past few years and how receptive his has been to all of the programs that have shown interest in him, there still seems to be a glimmer of hope here.
2022 3✮ S Jake Pope Released Official Top Schools List
One Monday night, Pope, one of the fastest risers across the nation on the 2022 recruiting boards, announced his top fourteen list via social media. As expected, the Tar Heels were included in the list that follows an interesting tidbit that came out about him in a recent edition the Rivals Rumor Mill. In the weekly piece that Adam Gorney and Mike Farrell released last week, the two said that the Tar Heels were one of five schools that they are hearing are standing out in his recruitment right now. So while he may have only released a top fourteen on Monday, it seems like there are some clear leaders and the Tar Heels seem to be among that lead group.